A Neat Tip to Help with Your Scholarship Essays: Record Your Voice

Flickr user Brad Flickinger

For many students, the worst part about applying for scholarships is writing the essay. In fact, it can be enough of a deterrent to turn students off from applying entirely. There are a number of ways to make writing an essay easier—outlining, using humor, picking an engaging topic, etc.—but here’s another one for you: record yourself speaking.

Why Record Instead of Write?

But why would you add an extra step? How is listening to your own voice going to help the writing process?

First: people talk faster than they can type. Speaking your answer aloud can let you get your thoughts out, without waiting for your typing fingers to catch up. Speaking is a direct pipeline from brain to answer, meaning you’ll catch more honest answers and are less likely to lose any thoughts.

Talking through an answer can also lead to additional thoughts or perspectives. You might inspire yourself while speaking. Knowing that the recording is just a practice run, not the final product, can also help ease pressure and allow you to give a heartfelt answer. You can always edit things later, after all.

The Importance of Your Voice

Additionally, answering the question out loud in your own voice is less stressful. For a while, you don’t have to worry about the mechanics of writing or grammar or punctuation, you can just focus on the most important thing—the answer.

There is a preconceived notion that essays have to sound super professional or “grown up” to be valid, but the whole point of an essay is to have the readers understand you the person. Therefore, it’s important that the essay sounds like you. Talking about your answer as though in a conversation first, will ensure that your writing will sound more like you.

Allison Wignall

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